The spring VHT International and Horse Trials kicked off today at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, Virginia. The FEI classes, Advanced/Intermediate, Intermediate, and Preliminary levels began their competition with all three phases of eventing running concurrently.
Lauren Kieffer and D.A. Duras took the early lead in the CCI3*-S, earning a score of 26.0 in dressage, and holding their top position following a double-clear trip around Chris Barnard’s show jumping track.
Kieffer is delighted with the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, who was recovering from a minor injury for much of the 2018 competition season.
“He’s come out at a different level than when he was last competing,” Kieffer said. “Because he’s young, we took longer and erred on the side of caution [bringing him back]. I think in the long run it actually did the horse a lot of good. He’s come back really strong, really straight, and a lot more mature.”
D.A. Duras returned to competing in Ocala this April and most recently finished third at the Jersey Fresh International CCI4*-S. Their plan is to head up to Canada to compete at the MARS Equestrian Bromont CCI4*-L in June.
“We’ll let him go his own pace tomorrow,” Kieffer said. “The course looks nice. It will be a good fitness run — it’s pretty much all uphill.”
Close behind in second place is Phillip Dutton with Fernhill Revelation. They sit on a two-phase score of 26.3. Kimmy Cecere and Landmark’s Monaco are in hot pursuit on 29.9.
The CCI2*-L is making its debut here at the spring VHT International. Topping the division after the first phase is Will Faudree and Mama’s Magic Way with a score of 22.0. Doug Payne and Baymax are second with 25.5 while Arden Wildasin and Southern Sun lie third with a 26.4.
Dutton leads the way in the CCI2*-S riding Get Ready Get Set on a two-phase score of 29.7. They are followed by Laura Welsh and Toute Va Bien in second (31.1) and Emily Beshear and Templewood third (31.4).
The lower levels will begin their competition Saturday while the FEI classes take to the cross-country courses designed by Andy Bowles and John Michael Durr.
Virginia Horse Trials is pleased to welcome a record number of entries for the spring event, with about 440 horse and rider combinations. There was also an increase in the FEI entrants with the addition of the CCI2*-L to the schedule.
“I’d like to thank people for choosing to come to Virginia Horse Trials. There are a lot of events on the calendar, and we appreciate that they save a place for us on their schedule,” Organizer Andy Bowles said. “Our aim is to focus on rider and horse experience at every level, whether they are amateurs and professionals. We want them to go home having had a positive experience and look forward to coming back.”
The USEA would like to feature your IEL team! The USEA Interscholastic Eventing League (IEL) is in its first year and currently has 82 registered teams from every USEA area and 46 events hosting an interscholastic team challenge.
The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is thrilled to welcome back longtime sponsor, FITS Riding, Ltd. for 2021. They are returning as a Bronze Level Sponsor of the 2021 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds, a Contributing Level Sponsor of the 2021 USEA Adult Team Championships, a Contributing Level Sponsor of the 2021 USEA Classic Series, and a Contributing Level Sponsor of the 2021 USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championships. As a sponsor of these USEA programs, FITS Riding will generously provide gift certificates as prizes for the Intercollegiate championship competitors, AEC and ATC competitors, and Classic Series winners.
“I wouldn’t trade it for anything, it was an amazing experience.” Twenty-five years ago, Kerry Millikin and her off-the-track Thoroughbred gelding, Out and About (who was only 8 years old at the time) won the individual Olympic bronze medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, making her one of five females to have earned an individual Olympic medal for the U.S.
The Fair Hill Organizing Committee (FHOC), an affiliate of the Sport and Entertainment Corporation of Maryland (The Sport Corp.), today announced athletes and horses in the inaugural Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill (CCI5*-L) will be competing for $300,000 in prize money. Additionally, the US Equestrian Federation (USEF) Eventing National Championship (CCI3*-L), running in conjunction with the 5 Star, will award $25,000 in prize money. Both events, as well as the United States Eventing Association (USEA) Young Event Horse East Coast Championships, will take place this October 14-17 at the new Fair Hill Special Event Zone in Cecil County, Maryland.